Leadership Theories

  • Introduction
  • GDD’s Results
  • Candidate’s Results
  • GDD/ Candidates Comparison
  • Recommendation


In the first assignment, students are given a scenario about Global Delivery Direct (GDD), a Norfolk, England medium-sized global delivery company that was started in 1968 by four college friends.  .  The purpose of this exercise is to see if you can identify the GDD leader in the potential candidates that will be hired to lead the new boutique services department. 

Outcome Met by Completing This Assignment

  • use leadership theories, assessment tools, and an understanding of the role of ethics, values, and attitudes to evaluate and enhance personal leadership skills


Andrew Rockfish and the other owners have been looking for a competitive edge in the North American market that will translate well to the other divisions.  A recent meeting of the owners resulted in the decision to target business organizations with custom services.  The decision stems from recent feedback from customers that revealed that for GDD to anticipate the needs of their clients, suppliers and service vendors, the company needed to decrease the turnaround time in delivery and mailing of small packages and letters.  Rockfish has decided to offer “boutique” services to its business customers.  Catering to businesses will allow GDD to provide personal services that Fed Ex and UPS cannot offer.  Customizing the services will allow GDD to increase prices while creating a new niche in the market.  It was decided that the initial roll out of this idea would start in the US where an imminent threat from competition lies.  Rockfish was on board with this idea and began a campaign among the rest of the company to find ideas that would help to encourage the new ‘Business First” strategic plan.

In response, a sales manager from the mid-west sales team brought this idea from their brainstorming session for Rockfish’s consideration.  The sales manager proposed creating several mobile packing stores to bring customer service to businesses directly.   GDD would not just pick up and deliver but they would also package.  This model could be viewed as an UPS store on wheels.  The team got the idea from a local delivery service that started a similar business as a Mail Store on Wheels and it seemed to be doing well.  The mail company has five “Mail on Wheels” trucks and focuses on taking small business, not individuals away from the three local UPS and Kinko stores.  After a financial review of the company, Rockfish decided to buy the business.  

The mail business was started by a young entrepreneur, Adrian Cheng, who ran the business with the philosophy that “customers always get the best of our time and service”.  Personal service, friendliness, and as much time as it takes to make the customer happy, was part of the mission statement.  Employees were casually dressed and had no deadlines except those given by the customer.  Cheng had about 45 employees and ran both day and evening shifts.  He had one van that was on call 24/7.   Cheng oversaw the entire operation with two assistant managers, one for the day shift and one for the evening.  Cheng does not want to stay on after the merger.  Rockfish therefore has decided to hire a new manager for the new service products they will offer.

Rockfish has decided that you as a new management trainee might review some of the candidates for the job and help him decide if the candidates have a leadership approach and style that will fit the 21st century model that GDD is looking for in their leaders. 


NOTE:  All submitted work is to be your original work. You may not use any work from another student, the Internet or an online clearinghouse.  You are expected to understand the Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism Policy, and know that it is your responsibility to learn about instructor and general academic expectations with regard to proper citation of sources as specified in the APA Publication Manual, 6th Ed. (Students are held accountable for in-text citations and an associated reference list only). 

Step 1:  Preparation for Writing the Assignment

Before you begin writing the report, you will read the following requirements that will help you meet the writing and APA requirements.  Not reading this information will lead to a lower grade:

Review “How to Analyze a Case Study” under Week 4 Content.  You are expected to use the facts from the case scenario focusing on using this information to determine opportunities and solve problems.

Read the grading rubric for the assignment.  Use the grading rubric while writing the report to ensure all requirements are met that will lead to the highest possible grade.

In writing this assignment, you will read and following these tasks:

Third person writing is required.  Third person means that there are no words such as “I, me, my, we, or us” (first person writing), nor is there use of “you or your” (second person writing).  If uncertain how to write in the third person, view this link:  http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/first-second-and-third-person.

Contractions are not used in business writing, so you are expected NOT to use contractions in writing this assignment. 

You are expected to paraphrase and are NOT to use direct quotes.  You are expected to paraphrase, which can be learned by reviewing this link:   https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/QPA_paraphrase2.html.

You are responsible for APA only for in-text citations and a reference list.

You are expected to use the facts from the case scenario paired with the weekly courses readings to develop the analysis and support the reasoning.  No more than three (3) external resources can be used in completing the assignment.  The expectation is that you provide a robust use of the course readings.  If any material is used from a source document, it must be cited and referenced.  A reference within a reference list cannot exist without an associated in-text citation and vice versa.   View the sample APA paper and the How to Cite and Reference file located under Week 4 content.

Step 2:  How to Set Up the Report

Create a Word or Rich Text Format (RTF) document that is double-spaced, 12-point font.  The final product will be between 4-6 pages in length excluding the title page and reference page.  You may not exceed six (6) pages so it is important to write clearly and concisely.

Follow a report format.   https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/726/01/

  • Create a title page with title, your name, the course, the instructor’s name and date;
  • Introduction
  • GDD’s Results
  • Candidate’s Results
  • GDD/ Candidates Comparison
  • Recommendation

Step 3:  Identify GDD’s prevalent leadership theory, leadership approach and preferred leadership style.

Read the course readings in weeks 1 – 4 to gain an understanding of the concepts of leadership theory, leadership approach and leadership style.

Read the background information under each week’s course schedule and the case scenario to identify GDD’s prevalent leadership theory, leadership approach and preferred leadership style.

Create a table that illustrates GDD’s prevalent leadership theory, leadership approach and the preferred leadership style.

Explain the reasoning for the selection of each element within the table.  You will use the course readings and the case scenario information to support the reasoning.

Step 4:  Identify each candidate’s prevalent leadership theory, leadership approach and preferred leadership style.

There are four potential candidates for the new manager position.  Below is a summarization of Rockfish’s interview notes that have been provided for you to use to help make a recommendation.  Read the interview notes on each candidate. 

Candidate One- Henrietta Raynard

Henrietta was the assistant to Alex Cheng.  She is 28 years old with 3 years of college. She currently is finishing her degree online at UMUC.  Henrietta is a business administration major.  She is friendly and has a quiet demeanor.  She does not tolerate much nonsense from people, hates surprises, and wants people to be brief in talking with her.  Rockfish’s personal impression was that the candidate was hesitant in joining a bigger company.  She likes the smallness of a business and feels in control in such an environment.  She liked the idea of the collaborative environment of GDD and responded well to the idea that her opinions and suggestions were always welcome.  However, she expressed some concern that the youthful employees of Mail on Wheels had plenty of opinions but not a lot of discipline in their work ethic.  She has found that structure, procedures and rules have worked better than asking for input.  When asked how her staff perceived her, she laughed and said they called her a “Type A.”. But then again to some of the people she works with, anyone who shows up for a meeting early is a “Type A.”  Rockfish noted that during this statement, it was only one of two times during the interview that she held his gaze for any length of time.  When asked what characteristics she thought a leader needed to possess to succeed in the 21st century she replied, “…objective, practical, controlled and fair.”  Raynard said her leadership style was transactional but Rockfish was not sure if it was not more authoritarian.  When asked what leadership theory she thought was most likely to work in the 21st century her reply was “Great Man, because it emphasizes the characteristics of a person like honesty and trust.”  Raynard’s knowledge of the business was sound but when asked if anyone could be a leader she said no. It was up to the position that a person holds.  She seemed to know little about how GDD operated.  When asked if she had a leadership approach she replied, “Can you clarify the question? If you mean, do I think I can l lead? Sure.”  Raynard did understand that sustainability was very important to the business.  She said she had some ideas on how to make the process aspect of Mail on Wheels better, more efficient while saving cost.  She also thought that being eco-friendly was important but realized that was the other meaning of the word sustainability in business. 

Candidate Two- Orson Hernandez

Hernandez currently manages the local Kinko’s store.  He has remained loyal to the company even after the merger. 

However, he feels that the store’s image, culture, and mission have changed dramatically since the merger.  He enjoys working with a customer until they are satisfied and regrets having to short change the time he spends with customers today.  He also feels that the company culture has become more rigid.  When asked what characteristics he thought a leader needed to succeed in the 21stcentury, he replied, “…flexible, compassionate, insightful and honest”.  Hernandez seemed to understand the idea of a mobile packaging store and was aware that Cheng’s company was becoming a strong competitor for his small business customers.  Asked about the idea of competitive edge he said that a leader at his level does not have to worry about competitive edge.  He liked the collaborative culture at GDD and showed signs of having done his homework on the company.  GDD, he said would do well if the company made sure that the new division continued the existing culture because it encouraged creativity.  When asked how he created followers among his employees, Hernandez replied that he liked to use incentive motivational techniques and would sometimes empower workers if they showed the ability to manage others well.  Hernandez said he was a laisse-faire leader because it encouraged freedom.  His said his favorite leadership theory was contingency theory because it allowed him approach things by the situation.   He liked to agree with people and saw himself as being flexible.  Hernandez said that he really did not have an approach to leadership just a style.

Candidate Three- Jonathan Livingston

Currently works for the IT department at UPS and obtained this job right out serving in the military.  Livingston entered the interview room all smiles and with a firm handshake.  Rockfish admitted to being impressed by the firm handshake and the constant eye contact throughout the interview.  Livingston was very prepared to discuss both companies having visited them both prior to the interview.  Livingston had also read about GDD online and spoke with current employees.  Livingston indicated that he was the team leader in his current job and was content with the organization.  However, his current job does not lead him to a career position in management, which he desires.  His approach to leading is to look for leadership opportunities and encourage employees to act upon them if possible.  Livingston believes he is positive about the future and while he knows that GDD is searching for market share, he feels that he can bring a big picture perspective to the new company having worked at UPS.  Livingston said he saw himself as a transformational leader.  He feels that good leadership is built on good relationships with followers.  Relationship theory seems to make the most sense to him for the 21st century because people make change work and leading change is the future.

Candidate Four-Adrianna Coyote

Coyote went to work for GDD part-time straight out of college. She took time off to have a family and is now managing the GDD airport station of the Ontario Hub.  Having read about the opportunity through the GDD’s HR division website, Coyote is excited about the possibility of moving her career forward   She is quite familiar with GDD shipping methods, deadlines, culture and policies.  Coyote has many innovative ideas besides the mobile vans that would encourage the business boutique market. Coyote’s evaluations are superior and she works well with her team.  Her colleagues suggest that she is flexible and a people-first person.  Her eye contact is good and she comes off as being very authentic.  She describes her leadership style as servant with a touch of authoritarian.  The deadlines of station work require strong direction at times and she believes that she must be strict about the deadlines.  However, Coyote tries to serve her people by looking at their needs and giving them a chance to be happy in their jobs.  Her team seems to concur.  She has little knowledge of the mobile business but has researched Mail on Wheels and looked closely at the business.  When asked about her favorite leadership theory she replied “relationship but really servant.”  The idea of leadership approach seemed to stump Coyote.  Leaders she said must encourage others and to seek out ways to encourage the company to do well.

  • Create a table that illustrates each candidate’s prevalent leadership theory, leadership approach and the preferred leadership style.
  • Explain the reasoning for the selection of each element within the table.  You will use the course readings and the case scenario information to support the reasoning.

Step 5:  Compare and Contrast GDD with Candidates

You will determine what candidate is the best fit for the job.  Use the data from the two tables created in Steps 3 and 4.and compare the data for each candidate against the GDD leadership model.  Note:  There is one best candidate.

  • Using the data ascertained in comparing the two tables, complete the following rating table using a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest rating and 1 the lowest rating.  Note that it is possible to have candidates that fall within the same category but it is unrealistic that all candidates will have the same rating.


1 No Fit

2 Bad Fit

3 Not Sure

4 Good Fit

5 Best Fit





Task 2:  For each candidate, draw conclusions after examining the similarities and differences between the information presented in the two tables.   Use the course readings and case scenario facts to support your conclusions and explain how you arrived at the rating.

Step 6:  Recommend the candidate that best fits  the GDD’s job.

  • Recommend the best candidate for the job.
  • Explain the logical connection between the leadership theories, approach and styles and the recommendation.  Explain why this candidate is better than the remaining candidates.

Step 7:  Submit the report in the Assignment Folder (The assignment submitted to the Assignment Folder will be considered a student’s final product and therefore ready for grading by the instructor.  It is incumbent upon the student to verify the assignment is the correct submission.  No exceptions will be considered by the instructor.)

Week 1: The Meaning of Leadership Overview


Andrew Rockfish, part owner and head of Global Delivery Direct (GDD), North American Division, was watching “Undercover Boss” on TV last night and was considering the idea for himself.  He thought it was a great way to get honest feedback from the frontline workers.  While the lack of honest feedback was important to him, what bothered him the most was the lack of personal mentoring!  He could see weaknesses in his leadership staff that concerned him more than ever.  GDD was losing market share in North America, and he knew that leading innovation and change was critical for GDD to stay in the game. This change would only come from leadership and committed workers. As he was mulling this idea over in his mind the next morning at work, he overheard a conversation between a few human resource employees discussing the paperwork for the new management hires.  It occurred to him that were he to get the seasoned managers (including himself) to lead the training sessions, the experienced managers might benefit from a review of some of the major leadership concepts as well as from being exposed to some of the contemporary leadership ideas.  These training sessions could facilitate reflection on the strengths and weaknesses each may have in a constructive and much less threatening manner.  The new recruits would gain the most because they would get the benefit of mentoring from the seasoned managers while becoming familiar with the GDD way of doing things.  Personally, Rockfish thought, “I will get to see the new hires and how they work.”  As these ideas began to grow on Rockfish, he went to see the Director of Human Resource to discuss the ideas further.

Fortunate for you, GDD has given you a new managerial spot.  A recent e-mail sent to you revealed that you would be receiving eight weeks of training before entering your assigned job. The focus of the training is leadership led by the Division Head, Andrew Rockfish.  The existing managers (your instructors), will lead you in discussions and assignments that will focus on a variety of leadership topics.  Each week you will be provided with an agenda (schedule) along with Rockfish’s personal comments on the topics and material to read that will hopefully allow you to comprehend the importance of good leadership to GDD and how it is best accomplished.  

Rockfish has put the following agenda out for his management mentees.  Staff managers have prepared the weekly topics for discussion.  In putting the schedule together, Rockfish has provided key take-away points. 

Rockfish – Welcome Remarks:

Welcome to GDD!

It is exciting to have you here at GDD. This is the start of a new program for “Managers to Leaders”  and one I hope will prove a great success.  GDD is at a critical time in its history.  Although still a sound viable business, we face a market position that will reverse our growth trends unless we find new and sustainable ways of supporting our customer base.  This challenge is one facing many businesses today.  It is our obligation as the leaders of the company to accept the challenge.  Leadership, hand in hand with management, will accomplish this goal. However, the leadership must drive the change and new ideas needed to meet the challenge. That is why today we will begin a journey towards understanding leadership in the 21st Century and how it will apply to making leadership great at GDD.  The destination for this journey is to arm each of you, as a future leader of GDD, with the knowledge useful to meet the challenge we are facing. We want you to be learning leaders, which starts with knowing what you need to learn about leadership.  Our focus in this class will be on developing an understanding of the skills useful to being a good leader in today’s business environment. So, let us begin the journey.

Week 2: Sustainability and Leadership

Rockfish Opening Remarks

Doing well in leading the energy of others is critical in today’s business environment because of its volatile and dynamic nature.  The 24/7 world of business that has been brought about by technological disruption and globalization has made change in the workplace as necessary as the computer itself.  Only people can make change happen quickly in a business and only people can keep the 24/7 work demand a viable business advantage.  

 This week we examine the relationship between a strong leadership point of view and creating competitive edge.  It is important that our new GDD leaders take this message home.  GDD is losing money right now because we are in a highly competitive marketplace and do not have the resources to compete.  Change and innovation are the only way out of this dilemma.  Our leaders must look for opportunities and people who can meet this challenge.

Week 3: Leadership Styles

Andrew Rockfish’s Background Thoughts

Doing well in leading the energy of others is critical in today’s business environment because of its volatile and dynamic nature.  The 24/7 world of business that has been brought about by technological disruption and globalization has made change in the workplace as necessary as the computer itself.  Only people can make change happen quickly in a business and only people can keep the 24/7 work demand a viable business advantage.  

This week we examine the relationship between leadership style and creating sustainability in the organization.  The style or way a leader directs others in accomplishing tasks is directly related to a leader’s  personal definition of leadership and how the organization perceives successful leadership. 

A leader does not necessarily have one leadership style.  However, leadership styles can be defined by the situation, job, the organization, or the make-up of the employees who are being led.  A successful leader is one that recognizes what style fits best. Developing this skill will enable the leader to create followers in the workplace.  The more followers a leader has, the more influence they can exert in accomplishing the goals of the organization.  Interestingly, the committed employees are to the leader, the more likely the leader can create change within the organization.  

Workplace change often fails because leaders who seek change do not have a strong commitment from the employees.  Leadership style is crucial to this process.  Sound use of leadership styles can increase the influence needed to build a culture that favors change.  

At GDD, the need for change is crucial to maintain fiscal sustainability.  GDD’s competitive edge is dwindling and innovation is the only way out of the dilemma.  GDD’s leaders must look for opportunities and people who can meet this challenge.

Rockfish Opening Remarks

One of the jobs of the leader, no matter at what level in the organization, is to create and sustain competitive edge. It does not matter whether you are the owner, CEO or team leader.  The purpose of a leader remains the same – accomplishing the sustainable organization.  Clawson (2009) explained that there are three ways a leader accomplishes this end goal; by being a strategic thinkers, relationship builder, and a change agent.  To complete these tasks and lead the organization or group, an individual must understand the nature of the tasks as well as possess the skills necessary to complete them. 

In the weeks to come, we will examine the job tasks and skills necessary to lead a successful vision.  The way a leader sets the direction, implements plans and motivates people to accomplish a task is known as a leadership style.

In week one, we learned that a leader must define leadership both personally and within the context of the organization.  A successful leader should adopt a leadership style that fits their definition and the organization’s definition of leader.  The choice of leadership style should enhance the point of view of the leader, the culture of the organization as well as the job and situation at hand.

The following notable leadership styles will be examined this week:

Leadership Styles
Pace SetterDemocraticTransformational
Command/CoerciveServant Participative

Many of the leadership styles have emerged from the theories that we discussed in week one.  Others have combined elements from different theories to create the characteristics, behaviors, attitude and values of the successful leader.  In reviewing the reading and preparing for our discussion this week, evaluate your leadership style as you know it now and see if it can be improved or developed to fit the GDD ideal of a “enhanced situational or transformational” leadership style.  A GDD leader is not just looking at situations, but they are looking at the people and organization as well.

Week 4: Leadership Approach and the Diamond Model

Rockfish Background Thoughts

I was pleased when I thought about how well last week went with the new mentoring program. The others leaders seem to be happy as well.  Josie Jasper, head of shipping, expressed as much. Josie commented that she had not known about the idea behind Flatarchies. She struggled with transition problems in her department.  She thought she might review the idea some more.   

So far so good Rockfish mused.  Implied in last week’s work was the important idea of a leader’s approach.  Leadership definitions and styles can help a leader begin to frame a way of thinking about leading others but leadership is far more complex.  The leader must develop a leadership point of view or perspective if they are going to be successful.  Separate from leadership style he thought, a leader needs to define leading for one’s self.  Exposure to Clawson’s Diamond Model of Leadership is the focus of this week’s take away.  Rockfish remembered that Clawson’s  book “The Three Levels of Leadership”, makes the ascertain that leadership is a point of view, a way of looking at the world that holds value in both the position a person holds and in his or her attitude.  Further, a leader will never be successful if they do not manage their own energy as well as those around them.